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Photo: Ralph Rosen

at The Wheeler Centre

Emily Wilson: The Odyssey Retold

Bizarre, brutal and beautiful, Homer’s The Odyssey is a story of adventure and revenge. It’s one of our oldest stories and an enduring source of obsession for readers, scholars and storytellers.

In Australia, if you studied The Odyssey at school or at university, you probably read it in English and in prose. How much of the rhythm, pace and spirit of Homer’s epic Greek poem has been lost through dozens of English translations over hundreds of years? And what can a new, radical intervention from a different kind of translator bring to our understanding of the story?

Classicist Emily Wilson is the author of an immersive translation that breathes new life into The Odyssey. Written in startling, spirited verse, Wilson’s Odyssey soars and sings. At the centre of all the action is, of course, the sacker of cities and slayer of suitors, Odysseus himself. In Wilson’s telling, our hero is introduced as ‘a complicated man’; a figure of many moods and layers.

In May, this remarkable scholar – and the first woman to translate The Odyssey in English – will discuss translation, truth and complex heroes with Alison Croggon.

Embiggen Books will be our bookseller for this event.

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Portrait of Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is professor of Classical Studies and graduate chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. In November 2017, W.W. Norton & Company published her translation of the Odyssey, the first known complete translation by a woman in English.

Portrait of Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, theatre writer, critic and editor who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She works in many genres and her books and poems have been published to acclaim nationally and internationally.

She is arts editor for The Saturday Paper and co-founder of the performance criticism website Witness. Her most recent book is the creative non-fiction Monsters, out in March 2021, from Scribe Publications.


An alchemy of writers. An explosion of ideas.

Do you like your military history with a side of hip-hop? How about fabulist fiction beside trailblazing journalism? This May, take your brain out for a spin. You’ll meet Pulitzer-winners, YA stars, eminent historians, poets, rappers and some of the world’s best living novelists.

Event partners

Logos of partner organisations: Sydney Writers Festival, Auckland Writers Festival, State Library Victoria, State Library of Queensland, Byron Writers Festival and 3RRR


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